- DON’T hire interns for “free labor”.
Recruiting, training, and managing interns take time, money, and constant attention. Many SMBs, nonprofits and startups bring in interns without considering factors that make an internship successful for both parties. This can be extremely costly if not done properly. You can end up wasting a lot of the company’s resources and time, not to forget the interns’ time and experience. Interns are NOT free labor.
- DON’T recruit the intern with the best G.P.A.
Yes, of course you can be skeptical of the student who was kicked out of their college, but in most cases, interns prove themselves through their work and hustle. We’ve seen this over and over again. Not all of our employees are from Harvard, and they shouldn’t be. Don’t be afraid of bringing in diversity. Look for motivated, skilled, and astute individuals. Not just the one who was academically outstanding.
Supervisors are most commonly known to over-communicate with or micromanage employees. FYI, this also stays true when managing an intern. Two things you have to understand when hiring an intern: 1) the intern already understands that the position is temporary; 2) the intern expects plenty of guidance and advice. Some supervisors are known for giving interns a task and then disappearing for the remainder of the intern’s term. From the interns’ perspective, this opportunity is a stepping-stone to employment – hopefully with the company they’re interning with. Micromanaging them or giving them too much autonomy can damage their self esteem, and leave them stranded. Which brings me to my next point.
- DON’T only assign them a single, small task.
If the employee isn’t challenged, they will be bored and inefficient. This statement doesn’t only ring true to employees – with interns, the effect is worse. They’re more likely to leave (intern turnover rates are very high), and thus are more likely to trash the brand as the micro-sneezers of the company. Moral of the bullet point: keep them challenged – not busy. They’re there to make a difference, not only staple papers and run coffee errands (and even though that may be part of the job, it shouldn’t be all of it). Check in with them every so often, make them feel like an asset, and give them room to fail.
- DON’T forget to give them important information.
Not only are interns looking for a full time position, but also many of them are pretty clueless in doing so. They are there to do anything possible to get the job, learn a great deal, and be successful. Giving them information about the company (i.e. company history, values, and structure) or expectations will help build trust and confidence between the two parties. Don’t leave room for ambiguity. It’s just dangerous to assume things.
What other DON’Ts can you think about?